An Illustrated Guide to Hen and Rooster Varieties

An illustrated guide to rooster varieties. A look at the breeds your grandparents raised, still best for a small farmstead flock
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Editors
May/June 1988
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Chart of hen and rooster breeds, egg production and other characteristics.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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These American Classics are the hen and rooster varieties your grandparents raised years ago. This same set of hens and roosters are dependable and your best bet for a small homesteading flock. Breeds covered include the Barred Plymouth Rock, Jersey Giant, Brahma, New Hampshire Red, Minorca and more. See the illustrated chart of hens and roosters in the image gallery.

Breed  Primary Use  Egg Color  Mature Weight  Other Characteristics 
  Eggs   Meat Brown   White Hen      Cock  
Rhode Island Red x          x x 6-1/2     9   Most productive layer
of dual-purpose breeds
New Hampshire Red x          x x 6-1/2     8 Matures earlier, lays less
than Rhode Island Red
Plymouth Rock x          x x 7-1/2     9-1/2 Good winter egg production
if kept warm
Dominique x          x x 5           7 Hardy, good forager
Wyandotte x          x x 6-1/2     8-1/2 Cold-tolerant
Jersey Giant             x x 10         13 Matures slowly, disease-
resistant
Brahmas             x x 9-1/2     12 Good setting hens
Black Australorp x          x x 6-1/2      8-1/2 Active but tolerant of
confinement
Lakenvelder x          x            x 4            5 Small but meaty, nonsetter
Orpington x          x x 8            10 Quiet, gentle, good setter,
cold-tolerant
Ancona x            x 4-1/2      6 Good forager, "camouflage"
coloring
Leghorn x            x 4-1/2      6 Champion egg layer; many
strains, hybrids
Minorca x            x 7-1/2      9 Excellent forager, nonsetter,
large eggs







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